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MacDonald’s The Sublimity of Document Published


A book featuring interviews with avant-garde filmmakers by Professor of Art History Scott MacDonald was recently published by Oxford University Press.

The publisher describes The Sublimity of Document: Cinema as Diorama as “a collection of in-depth interviews with moving-image artists making films that explore the territory between documentary and experimental cinema.” The description notes that MacDonald’s interviews “are dense with information and insight, and readable by specialists and non-specialists alike.”

Included is an interview with Yance Ford ’94, an Emmy Award-winning director and producer whose debut film Strong Island received an Academy Awards nomination for best documentary feature in 2018. In 2017, Ford screened Strong Island as part of Hamilton’s F.I.L.M. (Forum on Image and Language in Motion) series, which MacDonald organizes.

Interviews with other leading filmmakers, including several whose work has been part of the F.I.L.M. series, also appear in The Sublimity of Document. Among them are Gustav Deutsch, Bill Morrison, Brett Story, Erin Espelie, James Benning, Maxim Pozdorovkin, and Dominic Gagnon, who is part of the fall 2019 F.I.L.M. series lineup.

In a review, David James of the University of Southern California wrote: “With this, his seventh collection of interviews with avant-garde and documentary filmmakers, Scott MacDonald proves himself an axiom of cinema. His achievement is astonishing.”

Bill Nichols, author of Introduction to Documentary, 3rd edition, said, “Reading this book can only enlarge our love for what the camera sees when it looks afresh at the world we think we already know.”

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